With all this talk about the 1916 centenary celebrations I decided to go back to a bit of history which seem to have been forgotten outside of Limerick(and indeed in Limerick).
The era was called the Limerick soviet.
It was a self declared soviet that existed from 15 to 27 April 1919. At the beginning of the Irish War of Independence, a general strike was organised by the Limerick Trades and Labour Council, as a protest against the British Army’s declaration of a “Special Military Area” under the Defence of the Realm Act, which covered most of Limerick city and a part of the county. The soviet ran the city for the period, printed its own money and organised the supply of food
The general strike was extended to a boycott of the troops. A special strike committee was set up to print their own money, control food prices and publish newspapers. The businesses of the city accepted the strike currency over the short period of the strike, but could not have done so if it had lasted for months. Outside Limerick there was some sympathy in Dublin, but not in the main Irish industrial area around Belfast. The National Union of Railwaymen did not help.
After two weeks the Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Limerick, Alphonsus O’Mara, and the Catholic bishop Denis Hallinan called for the strike to end, and the Strike Committee issued a proclamation on 27 April 1919 stating that the strike was over.
It just shows that Limerick people have always been a force to be reckoned with.
Isn’t it interesting to contemplate on how different Ireland as a whole would have been if the Limerick Soviet would have remained. We wouldn’t have the red flags of Munster in the city but the red flag of the Soviet.
There is a great alternative history story in this along the lines of Philip K Dick’s ” the Man in the High Castle”
Liam Cahill wrote a book about the era called”Forgotten Revolution-Limerick Soviet 1919, a Threat to British Power in Ireland